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Saskatoon-based Nutrien expands use of proximity alarms to battle COVID 19 pandemic

Nutrien says Proximity Trace equipment is expected to help it minimize operational shutdowns and related costs and product delivery delays from disease outbreaks. Nutrien/Triax Technologies / Supplied

Canadian fertilizer giant Nutrien Ltd. says it will expand its use of a proximity alarm and contact tracing technology to help protect 14,500 of its employees from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Saskatoon-based company says it has rolled out its Proximity Trace equipment, made by U.S.-based Triax Technologies, to more than 8,000 employees to date and expects to introduce it to 6,500 more in coming months, representing 65 per cent of its global employee base.

Read more: How rapid tests are being used to test for COVID-19 across Canada

Proximity Trace tags are attached to workers’ clothing or hard hats and produce an audio and visual alert to those who come within two metres of one another.

Nutrien says the sensors also automatically log data to allow contact tracing if a positive case is found, helping limit further spread and reassuring those not at risk.

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The company says the system is expected to help it minimize operational shutdowns and related costs and product delivery delays from disease outbreaks.

Read more: COVID-19 public health orders in Saskatchewan extended to Feb. 19

The first sensors were deployed last July at fertilizer plant sites in the United States. They are now to be employed at Nutrien’s potash mines in Saskatchewan and at corporate offices in Colorado, Illinois, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“At the workplace, if you maintain proper physical distancing, then your risk of spreading the virus is very low,” said Dr. Tarek Sardana, a medical expert advising Nutrien, in a company news release.

“I encourage people to think of themselves as if they’re living within six-foot bubbles, and if no one penetrates the bubbles, it’s harder for the virus to spread.”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 public health orders in Saskatchewan extended to Feb. 19' COVID-19 public health orders in Saskatchewan extended to Feb. 19
COVID-19 public health orders in Saskatchewan extended to Feb. 19 – Jan 27, 2021

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